Facebook Dating Pros, Cons, Privacy Concerns & App Review
As an online dating photographer here in San Francisco, I have spent years analyzing dating apps and sites, carefully monitoring product launches, marketing promotions, engagement methods, notification prompts, and growth trends. I was immediately interested to hear what Facebook had up it’s sleeve when they decided to launch Facebook Dating given the recent privacy issues as well as competition in the industry.
After an initial launch in select, limited markets Facebook dating is now available in the United States. The selling point of Facebook dating as noted by their PR firm is that it “is a separate experience within Facebook” and “takes the work out of creating a dating profile.” Let’s take a few seconds to digest that last quote from their press release.
Many users on dating apps are inherently lazy. Few take the time to write meaningful bios and thoughtful answers. If syncing data from Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram is not lazy enough then I can only imagine what will be in when you are forced to do even less work. Among the countless red flags I advise client to look out for is incomplete profiles and few photos.
“With one tap, we’ll suggest photos and information from your Facebook profile”
Successful dating requires time, effort, energy and sincerity. You can blow through the process of selling yourself without carefully curating information, stories, anecdotes etc.
I imagine the main focus for Facebook dating is to get users to fill in more information and to collect more info. Users of dating apps already give up plenty of personal info but now that data can possibly be synched with profiles giving one the largest data collectors of private information more data about you, your taste in profiles, messaging style etc. Aside from the privacy concerns, scammers use Facebook to collect publicly displayed information to target users whether it’s to obtain personal information to guess security questions, quickly bond with users over similar interests, or copy photos to create other profiles. Essentially Facebook dating reduces the number of steps a scammer needs to take to do this.
One feature from the press release that caught my eye is displaying public information about events.
“You can choose to see other people who are using Facebook Dating that fit your preferences within the groups you are part of and the events you have attended or will be attending. When you choose to see these people, you will also be visible to them.”
Sounds interesting but ask any woman on a dating site and you will hear countless stories of being stalked by past dates, unmatched matches or complete weirdos who saw their profile and tried to reach out through another platform. Displaying event attendee information will alert creeps to your whereabouts and notify scammers when you won’t be home.
The one possible redeeming feature of this service is the Secret Crush feature. Discover which of your friends is your secret crush with the double-opt in feature. If you two mark each other as a secret crush, both of you will be notified. If it is not mutual, no one will know except for you. Putting oneself out there is not a core personality trait among people on dating apps even among strangers so I find this feature may lack any significant traction but it doesn’t need to – it just needs to sell hope.
Like many other dating apps, Facebook dating is not without incomplete profiles and bios of users. In fact, it appears that Facebook has fewer required fields than most others popular datings apps (Bumble, Facebook, Tinder etc.). This can be frustrating but it can also be temporary as the main focus for Facebook these early days is on growth so I expect it to gradually force users to update/add details over time.
The Preferred Dating App For Cheating
With that said, there is one feature of Facebook dating that can facilitate cheating more than any other app out there and that’s in the settings. Facebook unintentionally created a setting that gives users the option to avoid awkward interactions among friends and friends of friends. By doing so it also made it easier for people to create a dating profile while minimizing coming across people they know.
This coupled with the fact that you don’t need to download another (obvious) dating app makes it that much easier for people to cheat.
Full Circle, Return To Its Origins – Facebook Reverts Back To Poking
Facebook started off as ‘The Facebook’ which was more or less a curated set of Hot or Not profiles for Harvard. It’s DNA is embedded in dating. It’s only fitting they try to come full circle and not only embrace their origins but also use it as a last ditch effort to regain users and data lost from all the privacy scandals it has endured the past few years. The ambiguous Facebook poke is back with Facebook dating.
The One Advantage Facebook Dating Has Over Other Dating Apps
After a few weeks I have noticed a steady uptick in users who have tried Facebook dating that have not tried other dating apps (the number of users in the San Francisco Bay Area has tripled over the first week since launch). The most likely reason for this is simplicity. Facebook dating not require a new app to download (if you already have the main Facebook app) and it does not out you with alerts and notifications that are common with Bumble, Hinge etc. Facebook dating is a bit more inconspicuous. Some folks might be attracted to this approach (kind of like dipping your toe in the water) but at the same time, these folks may or may not be serious about meeting others.
Who Is Likely To Use Facebook Dating?
After a few weeks of investigation and learning more about the profiles on the app, it appears that most people on the app are either brand new to online dating, dipping their toes in the dating water with limited/incomplete bios and profiles, Facebook employees (trying to boost numbers or doing user research), and those that do not wish to download another app and are curious to see what’s this all about or see who is on the platform.
For the time being, I highly recommend clients avoid using Facebook dating. There are plenty of other great dating apps that do a fine job depending on your demographics (age, location, gender, orientation and lifestyle). If you need help figuring out which app(s) are best for you, contact me today.
Currently Facebook dating works with the mobile app and does not work yet on the desktop site or mobile site. You can adjust settings to allow for possible matches with friends via the Secret Crush feature or use the default that matches you with friends of friends (you can disable this as well and and match with non friends of friends only). For how to guide on how to activate Facebook dating, check out this article.
If you are trying to figure out which dating apps are right for you, check out these posts:
Coffee Meets Bagel: https://eddie-hernandez.com/is-coffee-meets-bagel-for-you/
For additional safety tips read this guide. Stay safe out there, know how your information can be used.